Region's most prestigious Award winners announced

Warra resident Marilyn Bidstrup has been named Regional Citizen of the Year as part of Western Downs Regional Council's Australia Day Awards 2021.

Mrs Bidstrup is one of 17 individuals or groups to be recognised as part of this year's Awards, which celebrate those going above and beyond to make the Western Downs an even better place to live and work.

Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh said he was delighted to honour one of the region's most outstanding residents.

"The Australia Day Awards are the highest honour in the region and are designed to celebrate the special people in our region who really embody what it means to be a part of the Western Downs family," Cr McVeigh said.

"The prestigious title of Regional Citizen of the Year is awarded to someone who is an inspiration to their peers, has shown outstanding contribution to their community, and has demonstrated a high level of personal, academic or professional achievement.

"It's fantastic to acknowledge Marilyn's ongoing commitment to our region and her various efforts including her devotion to the Warra Progress and Heritage Society, Chinchilla Uniting Church, and Dalby Meals on Wheels to name a few.

"She also instigated the "Thousand Step Walkway' at Warra and 'History of Agriculture in Warra District', as well as playing a strong role in the local cotton industry."

Marilyn Bidstrup said she was honoured to receive this year's major award.

"Receiving a call from the Mayor to say I had received Citizen of the Year was a huge surprise," Mrs Bidstrup said.

"We have a great community; we all pull together to make our community and the Western Downs a more vibrant area to live."

The Regional Young Citizen of the Year has been awarded to Jandowae local Karsten Duvel.

Mayor McVeigh said Karsten's selfless commitment to the Dalby community was an inspiration to all.

"Despite his own challenges as a year 12 student in 2020, Karsten continued to work hard in the community and has made outstanding contributions to various initiatives," he said.

"This year alone, Karsten has played an integral role in the Dalby Junior Chamber of Commerce by creating a series of videos to help people stay in touch online during the pandemic and was instrumental in delivering a school-based Relay for Life event, among a range of other community efforts.

"Karsten is a truly deserving recipient of this year's prestigious Young Citizen of the Year Award, and I congratulate him for his efforts in the community."

Karsten Duvel said he was delighted to be recognised for his contributions to the region.

"I was very surprised, I was just trying to give back to the community and do what anyone else would do," Mr Duvel said.

"Being in a small rural town like Dalby, it's really important to have a big sense of community., it's really important to give back while you can because there are plenty of opportunities here, and it Is about showing appreciation for those opportunities.

"During the pandemic I noticed a lot of older people were getting upset about losing contact with their families so I thought it would be important to educate them about social media and give them a helping hand to stay connected online."

Four Local Award categories have also been awarded including the Local Volunteer of the Year, Local Creative Arts Award, Local Community Organisation Achievement Award and Local Sports Award.

All residents are encouraged to head along to their local Australia Day event for a variety of family fun and to celebrate the recipients being presented with their official awards.

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